For the second straight day, Kobe Bryant hit the practice floor as the Lakers prepped for Friday’s game at Sacramento. He went through an extensive session on Tuesday with no setbacks, an indicator his return will come sooner rather than later.
“He feels good,” coach Mike D’Antoni said of Bryant. “He had a good practice (yesterday). He’ll practice today full bore and see how he feels tomorrow.”
Bryant’s return is still uncertain, but Pau Gasol elaborated on the importance of the next two days for Bryant, as well as the entire team, before the Lakers hit the road.
“Ten days ago, we (got) a good couple practices in. Yesterday was really good and really positive. I saw him playing better, doing more things, being more explosive. He’s been a really good contributor. He’s been facilitating the ball, he’s been a leader on the floor, which he has always been, and it’s great to see him out there.”
Gasol was quick to point out that Bryant’s presence in the lineup will boost the team’s level of play, regardless of what he can bring to the table.
“He’ll be a benefit no matter what,” Gasol stated. “Just his presence will pick everybody’s energy up and spirit up. We’ve been playing with energy, but with him on the floor, it could be a lot higher.”
Though no definite timetable has been set, Gasol wants Bryant to be 100 percent ready before stepping onto the floor, being wary of not rushing back too fast, too soon.
“I want him to be completely comfortable and confident he can play and do whatever he needs to do out there without any setbacks,” Gasol said. “That’s the perfect scenario. We don’t want him to play Friday if he’s not ready to play Friday. We don’t want him to play Sunday if he’s not completely ready to play Sunday. Whenever he comes and plays, I want him to stay there and continue to play the rest of the year.”